I am so grateful for the people who volunteer as they are such an essential part of any society. Did you know that in the United States 25.4 % of the people who can volunteer do volunteer? These volunteers spend an average of 50 hours on volunteer activities in a one year period. For people 65 years of age and older, volunteers spend an average of 86 hours volunteering in a one year period.
Not surprising, similar to the United States, in Canada nearly 47% of people aged 16 to 65 years and older volunteer their time. Volunteers in Canada on average, contributed per year 156 hours each. This is roughly 21 working days per volunteer. Canadian citizens who are 65 years and over in age donate the largest number of volunteer hours each year. The UK statistics are similar as they show that 41% of people who are able to volunteer do volunteer, at least once a year. Of the 41%, 27% of these people indicated that they took part in volunteering on a regular basis at least once a month. Americans, Canadians and people from the UK state that the primary reason they volunteer is to make a contribution to their country.
What place do volunteers hold in your life? Do you volunteer your time? Are you affected by volunteers in your life? I have a remarkable story as to how one volunteer made a profound impact on me, for eternity!
On a very sunny spring day, I was on my way to a local hospital where I had an appointment for some pre-operation tests prior to a scheduled upcoming surgery. One great thing about Canada is that we are blessed with an abundance of land, so instead of the need to build up towards the sky we can often build across. As a result I was at a very large hospital whose campus sprawls across many acres. After driving around the hospital grounds, I randomly choose a parking lot to park in. I got out of my car and proceeded towards one of the buildings. I entered through a set of large glass doors and soon discovered that I was in a central section of the hospital. I immediately realized that this was probably not the area of the hospital that I needed to be in.
As I walked through the doors I noticed a very welcoming, smiling face standing near the entranceway. I was feeling quite confident in approaching this person due to the inviting way he was looking at me. I was guessing this young man, dressed in a volunteer uniform, was in his early 20s. I told him where I needed to be for my appointment. He informed me that my doctor’s office was some distance from where we currently were. However, and he kindly offered to walk me to my destination. As we were walking I began to strike up a conversation with the volunteer and discovered that he had just graduated from university. He was now in search of paid employment. While he was looking for a job he was enjoying volunteering at the hospital once a week. He wanted to help others and to give back to his community.
I decided to encourage him by telling him how noble it is to be doing this service for others, and how appreciative I was that he was walking me to my destination. I told him that I will pray that he finds a job in the field that is clearly designed for his purpose in life. He smiled and thanked me.
After approximately five minutes of walking, we arrived at the exact location in the hospital that I needed to be at. If it wasn’t for this young gentleman who dedicated his time to volunteer on this particular morning, I would have not figured out where I needed to go, especially in such record time. This kind young man helped me to arrive at my destination on time, safe and sound! It was so easy!
As I reflected on this experience I thought, this is what Jesus can do for all of us. He is so eager to help us and is always there to offer support and guidance. Jesus is so loving and kind as He promises to daily direct our path. Essentially all we need to do is to ask Him for support and to place our total trust in Him. If we do, He will help us to arrive at our exact destination on time, safe and sound! The destination is found by following the path that God has set out for our lives. Our destination is finger-printed on us by God. It is a mark that is unique to each individual, a blueprint of the design for our lives. God prophetically spoke over our lives, before we were even born, our unique destiny. He knows the way to our destination, we just need to trust and believe!
My sheep know my voice; I know them and they follow me
(John 10:27, NIV).
How many times have we neglected to go to the Lord and ask for His guidance and direction? Instead we try to do it alone and have probably wandered around directionless not able to find our destination that would lead us to our full purpose here on earth. Instead, needlessly we waste time and energy by not asking and accepting the direction from our Lord and Savior. Depending on how stubborn we are, the time spent could be years and year of our lives. The Lord knows the purposes He has for our life. He knows our destination, all we need to do is to trust and believe that He will lead us to where we need to go. It is that simple, that easy, yet why do we often complicate our lives by not trusting and not relying solely on God for guidance?
As the volunteer was leading me through the hospital, I totally trusted that he knew where he was leading me. Can you imagine if I would have started to question the route he was taking me on? Can you imagine if I challenged his ability to get me to my destination? Can you imagine if I started to insist that I knew the way and ran ahead of him, when I actually had no idea where I was going? I knew from the onset of my journey through the hospital that I needed to be totally dependent on the volunteer to lead and to guide me.
Why then do we fail to realize that we need to be totally dependent on our Lord and Savior to lead and guide us in all of our ways, so that we end up at our purposed destination? How often do we become impatient with God and decide to take the lead and direct ourselves by running ahead? How many times have we believed that we know what is best for us and our future? In our stubborn and pride-filled nature we may think that we know what is best, so we start heading off in our own direction, only to end up in nowhere land more confused and totally turned around, facing the wrong direction. Unfortunately, probably many of us have wasted years of our lives doing this.
When we compare our actions with the Lord to the actions of being led by a volunteer to a destination in an unfamiliar location, it seems quite foolish not to rely and trust on God to lead and to guide us in all our ways. None of us has a roadmap, or a crystal ball that allows us access and a clear view into our future lives. Only God knows the way.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. As Jesus stated in John 14:6 (NIV), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. God has designed the map and written the guide book. God has ordained our destiny. So much so, that by taking the next step without relying on Him, we are taking a huge risk of trailing off the path and wandering around aimlessly. Our human need to be in control and to plan things often overrides true wisdom that we need to be totally dependent on God in all of our ways.
Each one of us needs to arrive at the point where we can completely trust in Him. If we can acknowledge and accept this important truth, it will be so freeing! By JustSaying, “God help me to give up control over my life. Help me to realize that your ways and your plans are the best! God help me to trust You in everything and not to be half in and half out.” By surrendering your will completely over to God, you need to have the faith to believe that you are completely dependent on Him for all things.
“God let us allow You to always lead, guide and direct our paths, not just every once and a while, but always!”
Questions to reflect upon
- What is holding you back from completely trusting God in areas of your life to lead and guide you?
- Figure out these problem areas by spending time in prayer and then surrender them to Him and Just Say It!, “I surrender to You Lord, I praise and thank You for always leading and guiding me. I give up control God. You are in control.”
Find a pen and your journal. If you do not have a journal, I suggest that you purchase one, or make one. Begin writing about an experience that you had with a volunteer and how this experience positively impacted your life. As you reflect upon this experience, think of ways that you can use what you learned to help positively impact someone in your circle of influence. What will you do? Who will be the fortunate recipient of this blessing?
Scripture to reflect upon
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
Prayer to reflect upon
Thank you God for all of the people who volunteer their time to make our society a kinder and gentler place to live in! Help us to continue to remember, to thank and praise you for the gift of service that you have given to the people who volunteer! Help us to be forever thankful for their selfless service.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father Which Art in Heaven
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will Be Done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this Day our Daily Bread
And Forgive Us our Trespasses
As We Forgive Those who Trespass Against Us
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
But Deliver Us From Evil
For Thine is the Kingdom
And the Power and the Glory
Forever and Forever
(Matthew 6:9-13, KJV).